The Westmoreland Cultural Trust is spreading its wings to bring art to communities throughout the county.
This summer, the trust is partnering with several local communities to bring a set of wings to their towns created by artist and California native Patrick Mahoney that will incorporate the important ideas, concepts and values of those communities.
“The ‘art in the alley’ concept was created to feature some of our local artists and provide a destination spot to explore the arts,” said Kelli Brisbane, the trust’s director of corporate engagement and events states.
The original set of 3-D art wings, located in art alley beside The Palace Theatre has drawn a following of individuals who take their picture near the wings and then post the pictures on social media with the hashtag WCTWings and WCTsArtintheAlley.
Mahoney used the surrounding area as inspiration, and within the wings’ designs are significant locations in Greensburg such as The Palace Theatre’s marquee, the county courthouse, and White Rabbit’s distinctive logo.
These 46” X 97.5” wings were first painted on canvas before a high-resolution photo of the work was enlarged and printed on vinyl then adhered to a metal sheet and cut out to hang in the alley.
“When we started the project, we always intended to expand out at some point, and now that the alley is pretty full (of art) and we have an opportunity to apply for another grant, we figured this was as good as any time to expand the idea,” said Brisbane.
Brisbane said the trust is hoping the project will strengthen community recognition of the trust in other towns within Westmoreland County and bring other trust programs to these areas.
“It’s a proven fact that art improves community,” she said. “We are very much looking forward to spreading our wings across Westmoreland.”
The initial communities that will be getting a pair of wings include Ligonier at the town hall courtyard, Scottdale at West Overton Museum, Jeannette at Sobel’s Obscure Brewery and Vandergrift at the Casino Theatre.
There are also plans for wings in Latrobe and New Kensington, although the exact location has yet to be determined.
“A similar concept will be used in each of the locations for Wings Across Westmoreland, with each piece of artwork representing the area in which they are installed,” said Brisbane.
Mahoney said it was Brisbane’s idea to reach out through Facebook to the different communities to get ideas of their favorite spots or landmarks. The responses is what he will draw from when creating each set of wings.
“I am now beginning the research and design phase and am hoping to finish the first four sets by the end of this month,” he said, adding that each set takes about 12 hours. “We are waiting to hear from four more cities that are very interested.”
Mahoney added that installation should be towards the beginning of August.
“The best thing about this project will be knowing that other communities will have the same shared experience of having their own set of wings,” he said. “When my daughter and I are painting in the alley we get to experience first hand the popularity of the wings. Just about everyone will stop there to take a picture.”
Brisbane said each set of wings costs $575 and they are continuing to look for sponsors for the creation of more wings, adding that some towns themselves have agreed to sponsor them.
“The main goal of this project is to draw people to the different communities with art and hope they’ll stay in the community for a bit to explore and see what all it has to offer,” she said. “The arts are what’s going to grow Westmoreland County and the Westmoreland Cultural Trust is willing to spearhead that and plant seeds in these communities.”
April Kopas, the new chief executive officer of the trust, said the project is encouraging.
“The trust is tasked with leading the development of the arts and culture county wide and I’m really proud of the work that the staff has done with this project,” she said.